Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ever think you're prepared for something and you really have no clue?!

"I live in two worlds, one is a world of books."- Rory Gilmore. (I technically live in three.... because tv).

If you ask any person that knows me well, I mean truly knows me, they will tell you that I am and always have been a bit of a bookworm. Side note: Or, anybody that's ever helped me move will tell (because books are damn heavy). I've always preferred books and tv to real human interaction.... and I'm not even sorry about it. While I have a few people that I love spending time with, for as long as I can remember, I have just chosen a fictional world.

And really, doesn't the fact that it's your own world constitute it being real? I'm thinking yes.

It may seem odd (I've been called that for as long as I can remember, as well) or even crazy (#runsinthefamily), but to me, it's perfectly normal and acceptable. It's also perfectly normal and acceptable (for the most part) to those I am close to, because while they can get my attention (because love), chances are at some point, I'm going to zone out.

I can look you directly in the face, watch/listen to every word that you are saying.... and have no actual clue what you said. Ever heard of "uh huh" people? You know the ones, no matter what the situation is, they just kind of respond with a half-hearted "uh huh?" I'm 75% of an "uh huh" person.

I pay attention to the important things, but mostly, I'm just responding, because the other person thinks I am listening and needs a response. Chances are I'm performing Meghan Trainor or Bon Jovi (yes, my musical tastes are very eclectic) or winning a completely ridiculous argument (#allidoiswinwinwin) that will literally never happen in my head.... but they'll usually never know the difference.

With all of that being said, there are times that I catch myself off guard in the fictional world.

Pride and Prejudice. Synopsis: Set primarily in the county of Hertfordshire, about 50 miles outside of London, in the early nineteenth century. The story centers around Elizabeth Bennet and the Bennet family (Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and Elizabeth's four sisters: Jane, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia).

First time I read it: When I was between 12-13. What caught me off guard: It's easy as a woman who was born in 1990 (how old am I getting again?!) to look around herself and see the injustices and disbelief even in the time in which we live.... but the way it was a couple of hundred years ago? If you didn't marry, and marry well, you were nothing. Literally, nothing. (We've come a long way, ladies). Umm, what? Elizabeth and her sisters (for the most part) have plenty to offer besides cleaning house and reproductive purposes. Did people in that time care? Absolutely not, don't say such ridiculous things, you crazy girl.

The Bell Jar. Synopsis: Set in 1953, main character Esther Greenwood tells her story of finishing college for her academic year, winning a one-month paid internship at Ladies Day magazine in New York City, the mental breakdown that she experiences, and finally, the beginnings of her recovery.

First time I read it: When I was 15. What caught me off guard: I never thought that a book could make you depressed. I knew that you could be sad, and thinking about it could always make you sad.... but depressed? Let me be clear, the book itself did not "make me" depressed. You see, I went through some things in my middle teens-on and I just really wasn't in the best place emotionally. When you're not in the best/most healthy place possible, don't read The Bell Jar. Lesson learned.

Wuthering Heights. Synopsis: Set between the years of the 1770s and 1802, a Yorkshire farmer (and owner of Wuthering Heights), brings home an orphan from Liverpool. The boy (Heathcliff) is raised with the Earnshaw children, Hindley and Catherine. Catherine loves (and falls in love with) Heathcliff, but Hindley hates him (he's jealous of his fathers affection for Heathcliff).

First time I read it: When I was 14. What caught me off guard: First things first, Hindley was a little asshole, and Catherine was a snob. I wasn't prepared for the realization that matters and feelings could go on and never be resolved. It was the first time that I truly thought ahead and I think a piece of my thought process is still shaped by this book. Are you removing and/or pushing someone out of your life? If you are, you better be completely sure that they're worth removing and you won't regret it, because you might not get that back.

The Fault in Our Stars. Synopsis: The story follows Hazel Grace Lancaster, as she battles cancer. Not only is she trying to live her life as a normal 16-year-old girl (enter Gus Waters), but she is also struggling with what it will be like for her parents after she dies.

First time I read it: When I was 24. What caught me off guard: Gus.... dear, sweet, lovable, amazing Gus (do they make guys like Gus Waters?). Following through Hazel's battle with cancer is heart wrenching to say the least, but Gus being the one that ends up no longer being in remission and slowly (and agonizingly) passing away? It's like a punch in the gut and getting hit with a truck all at once. As a person, sometimes we look at an illness that someone else has and we feel horrible for them.... but not always do we understand that they are in fact a person living with this. We all want to be optimistic, but sometimes, in real life, people don't win the fight. Sometimes it catches us all off guard, and not only do people have to deal with that, sometimes it breaks us. And that's ok, because sometimes we get broken and have to learn to put the pieces back together (like Hazel).

Not everybody gets a fairy-tale ending, but if we're lucky, maybe we can all live the fairy-tale itself.